The Dirty Energy Proposition (aka the California Jobs Initiative) blew by its self-imposed signature collection deadline last week. The campaign is working to gather the more than 400,000 signatures needed to get the proposal to kill California’s landmark climate and clean energy law on the November ballot. Apparently their expectation that a good turnout at Tea Party rallies would result in tens of thousands of signatures to Suspend AB 32 was a bit optimistic. However, California’s environment and economy aren’t in the clear yet, as almost $1,000,000 in additional funding has been recently contributed to the proposal. So are throngs of Californians getting in action? Nope.
So which money trees did the new wads of green come from? In keeping with the campaign’s MO, none other than top U.S. polluters and out-of-state interests. Of course looking at the newest contributor the Adam Smith Foundation, which donated a hefty $458,000, this isn’t exactly obvious at first glance – but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that the group fits in perfectly with its dirty oil counterparts.
Out-of-state? Check. The Adam Smith Foundation is a non-profit group based in Jefferson City, Mo., keeping in line with Texas based oil contributors Valero and Tesoro.
Suspicious motives? Check. While the group calls itself "an advocacy organization committed to promoting conservative principles and individual liberties in Missouri" and "created to defend judicial reform, government accountability, education reform, tax and spending reform and protecting private property", the reality is that it acts "as a corporate non-profit front group…with ties to stalwart Republican operatives with a history political thuggery and malfeasance". Hmm, kind of like how Valero claims "environmental stewardship is a core value" for the company, yet is ranked 12th on The Political Economy Research Institute’s "100 worst air polluters" in the U.S. (Tesoro came in right behind at number 30).
Perhaps the suspension group’s new plan of attack in using non-profits as a puppet to mask the original source of funds is an attempt to avoid any more boycotts like the one Californians have launched against Valero. But Californian’s can’t be played so easily, and this ploy does little to mask the real interests tugging at the puppet strings. Especially when the other major donors to the committee "include Occidental Petroleum ($300,000), Tesoro Companies ($200,000), World Oil Corp. ($100,000)" and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ($100,000).
The underlining question here is how exactly did the fight to kill a piece of California legislation become a top priority for so many? Oil companies and out-of-state special interests fear that clean energy would decrease our dependence on their dirty fossil fuels, thus cutting into their profits and challenging the need for their industry. They know that the reports of further investment, job growth and increasing prosperity that AB 32 promises, chips away at the stranglehold they have us in.
That’s one thing this manipulating campaign has right – that AB 32 will jump start a green economy that will threaten dirty energy interests. AB 32 has led businesses to put a new emphasis on environmental concerns, and in turn driven a strong job growth in the green sector. This is highlighted in The California Workforce Association Conference recent study "California’s Green Economy", revealing the increased focus on green products and services and how manufacturing and construction industries are actually leading with the most green jobs. However, suspending AB 32 would halt this transition towards a cleaner and greener California.
As the final weeks of signature collecting get underway – spread the word about the Dirty Energy Proposition. After all, the last time out-of-state Energy interests claimed to have Californians’ best interests at heart, we got rolling blackouts, courtesy of Enron. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice . . .